By Joseph Pratt
Kelsey Davis, Miss West Portsmouth, held an event for her River Days platform recently, which focuses on the Vern Riffe cheerleading squad and the Special Olympics. Her 5k color run brought in more than 100 runners and raised over $900 for the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCBDD).
“I know how much cheerleading has affected me in my life and I think it is just a really great opportunity to get out there and cheer and show people you can achieve whatever you want,” Davis said.
The day of the race turned out to be a little more gloomy and dark than what the West pageant queen candidate wanted, but she and her mother made the best of it. Prior to the run starting, Davis’s mother, Melissa Davis, gave a speech about her daughter’s cause and how she wasn’t upset about the weather.
“I think sometimes in all the frustrations that we have, God sends us a message. In a day like today, we see gray skies and challenges ahead, it reminds me of the real reason for this event. The children and adults of the Vern Riffe school face challenges and obstacles daily and they overcome their limitations. These students are the true inspiration of the day,” Melissa Davis said just before the run. “We all have something in our life that says, ‘I can’t’ But when we look around today, we see that with believing in ourselves and a having little faith, ‘we can’ confront any obstacle and by doing that we add a little color to our world and the grey skies seem to fade away. That is the take home message of the Color Me Cheerful event.”
Even with the bad weather early in the day, even Davis says she is grateful for the turnout she received.
“To have the weather like it was that morning, to be able to still raise over $900 is almost a gift from God. The turnout was absolutely amazing in my mind and the event went very smoothly.”
Several members of the SCBDD, teachers, staff board members and students appeared race day to give support or run. Two Vern Riffe Students, Alex Sudbrook and Abbi Purtee, who are in wheelchairs, even decided to run the 5k, with friends and family supporting them the whole way.
The SCBDD was so impressed with the outcome, they’ve asked Davis if they could host the event annually and wanted to know if she would be involved. Davis eagerly approved and agreed to help out.
“It is truly an honor. I am glad I had the opportunity to start something like this,” Davis said. “In thirty years, when the race goes on, I’ll get to look at it and just think how I actually did that and I got to help in such a great way. The whole experience is truly humbling.”
Davis’s summer has been spent volunteering and assisting in the many platforms each candidate has formed. Davis said it has turned out to be more than she ever expected and loves it.
“When you get River Days, you know great things will come of it, but, honestly, I never expected it to be like this. This summer has truly been life changing, not only for me, but for the other girls as well,” Davis said.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at 740-353-3101, EXT 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.